By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
You know, one of the frustrating things about being an editor in this biz is that you you are constantly besieged with fluffy stuff telling you that product X is the greatest thing since twist-caps were introduced on beer bottles. I read and watch an enormous amount of this stuff trying to find the something good to pass on to you. Today, I’ve got a really good one for you.
The folks at Stratasys have put together a quick (4-minute) video on their Fortus 3D Production System. They did a good job on this. The basic story is that the engineers at Joe Gibbs Racing used their Fortus 3D Production System – the Fortus 440mc to be precise — for concept modeling, functional prototyping, and building manufacturing tools. The problem was that an air-duct outlet wasn’t doing its job well enough, so too much brake heat cooked the tires which then would blow out. Not good for racing performance.
The Fortus line of 3D printers, in case you’re not that familiar with it, lets you create highly accurate and durable prototypes and parts with a variety of high-performance thermoplastics. It has a large build envelope and it’s about as fast as additive fabrication technology gets, if not the fastest in its class.
Anyway, what I liked best about this video it is that instead of some sultry voiced woman huskily extolling the parts created with the Fortus, real engineers from Joe Gibbs Racing explain the problem, their role in the solution, and what Fortus meant and means to their design efforts. They show off parts, CAD modeling, and all that. But the kicker of it all is that these guys went from concept modeling through manufacturing tools in about 2.5 days. In three days, they had the final part installed and on its way to the next race. And that time includes a prototype that sent them back to the modeling because it didn’t fit.
So, go ahead and watch the Joe Gibbs Racing team video by hitting today’s Check It Out link over there. It’s just 4 minutes, but it really tells you what an added engineering value you get when a Fortus 3D system is integrated in your process.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering